Racism against Black people in Switzerland: Three women talk - view

Olga Madjinodji (32), an activist and social worker for asylum seekers from Biel: "I want to give the refugees hope," the Black-Lives-Matter-Demo in Biel, I

Racism against Black people in Switzerland: Three women talk - view
Olga Madjinodji (32), an activist and social worker for asylum seekers from Biel: "I want to give the refugees hope,"

the Black-Lives-Matter-Demo in Biel, I spoke into the microphone. Out of solidarity with the Black people in the United States. My first experience with racism, I graduated in 1991 as a five year old in French-speaking Switzerland: The other kids looked at me, laughed and said I was as brown as Poop. My parents and the four of us children had just come back from Chad to Switzerland. A change of power had made us political refugees. From the beginning, the people conveyed to me here, I was different. Especially in the Gymi. The other made fun of my hair, they were scruffy as carpet. I fit me: First, I smoothed them, and then I braided braids – the main thing is not African. Today, I wear my hair quite short and feel free. If someone says I'm as beautiful as a lioness, hits me with a pang, even if it is not meant to be evil. Black women are exotisiert, even if many of them have the Swiss Pass, as I have.

On the racism experience, I would like to do without, you have made me strong. Our parents taught us: As Black people we have to work twice as hard as the White, in order to achieve something. That's what I did. After school I studied sociology in Lausanne, I wanted to work in the Asylum. Today I can advise asylum-seekers. I want to give the refugees hope. Show them that you can bring it in Switzerland as a Black Person to do something.

Anyway, I am interested in politics. I was just here in Biel, where I live, an African feminist founded network. And I am committed to the women's strike. My love is but the painting, especially watercolour painting. A study of art was not previously in question. I did not trust me. Now I'm working on an exhibition of her own back.

Brandy Butler (40), artist and activist from Zurich: "Now angry"

The current debate concerns me. It gives me energy, last week I organized a lot of masks for the Demo in Zurich. But I sleep also bad, because anger comes up. Four years ago, I supported a Petition against the racist name of candy like chocolate kisses. I received death threats, that was bad enough. When I went to the police, they doubted that there were death threats, and the Protocol does not first, that it comes to racism. But this is not important, otherwise the case shows up in the racism statistics. If I speak in Switzerland of racism, many react in anger. Switzerland has set itself apart enough with their colonial past. In the USA, we had a civil rights movement, and discrimination of Black people is discussed in public.

I grew up in Pennsylvania. My mother is white my father black. Together they have fought against racism. They were role models, taught us that we must respect all people. And my father showed us the cultural achievements of the Black Community: We listened to the music of Motown and Jazz. He explained to me how Black people their Trauma through music in joy have turned. Jazz, I studied then.

16 years Ago I came as an Au-pair in Switzerland. A few weeks later I dreamed of Swiss German. The language suits me very well, I think! I feel connected with the country: Here, I can make art, children in music and politically active – my passions. In Switzerland we are experiencing a unique Moment: For the first Time, the racism is named and not denied. Now we need to talk to Black people about our experiences, make demands and change the System for us and for other People of Color. The time has finally come.

Mandy Abou Shoak (30), an activist and social worker from Zurich: "We all need to unlearn racism"

I see myself as a part of a human rights movement against racism. That was before the current Black-Lives-Matter-debate. Even if I am there as well. We all need to unlearn racism. This fact is part of my current master's degree in Social work as human rights profession. We are born into a racist society. Those who do nothing actively against it, it remains racist. I want to make people aware of.

Just as I analyze with a colleague from the school books on racial prejudice – which is co-financed by the service for combating Racism of the Federal government. The Black people are often portrayed pejoratively. Hardly a book is that slaves have done against the subjugation of resistance, for example, in Haiti. Our analysis shows how people of racism over school books learning structural racism it's called.

A confrontation with racism is always a white privilege. Switzerland is still in its infancy. Most agree that men are favoured over women. But many deny that there is a discrimination of Black people. If I am today, and say that a joke is about Black people racist, I get to hear: I know Black people who find him funny.

Many are surprised when I tell them that we have fled from the Sudan. My father is a Journalist, my mother a dentist, and my brother is a doctor. My parents raised me to work for justice. That is why I fight against racism.

Updated Date: 12 June 2020, 12:48

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